Letters to Voltron: None of That Vehicle Crap
It's a well-known fact that most band names are gobbledygook, but here at Rocks Off we're looking hard to find meaning in the oddest monikers.
Every man has his Questing Beast, his White Whale, his Sephiroth if you will. For me and my quest to spread wide the names of Houston bands and lick my way to the center, it has always been Letters to Voltron. I've been sending these cats emails for years trying to learn the truth behind so awesome a name and nada. Today, though, we get dangerous.
If you haven't heard Letters to Voltron, then you are missing out. It's like... how can I put this? Imagine if every second-rate, coked-up joker you knew from your club days was also a brilliant metal musician. That's Letters to Voltron, all cackling hyped-up snide remarks and pseudo-philosophy delivered with a kind of garage-thrash that feels like a punch to the head. How can you not love a band that calls a song "All Your Dreams Will Come True (When You're Dead)?" They're like the Billy Nayer Show on crank. I love it.
That name, though...
Letters to Voltron, oh my fellow '80s children? Did you write the giant robot a letter because I freakin' did. I got a form letter back from some executive who was almost certainly not sitting in an office that combines with five other offices to create Cubitron! Nor was my question bout why we just don't skip to the whole "Form Blazing Sword" bit answered. You know what? I don't think you deserve Letter to Voltron if I don't.
Guitarist and vocalist John Wayne agreed to answer my question about the band's name's origin.
"When we first started out it was just Robert [C.] and I," says Wayne. "I used to say that when he, myself, and our friend Nick P. would hang out and come up with outrageous jokes and stories which we built out of something small, and then promptly proceeded to run that joke into the ground.
"We were funny to no one but ourselves," continues Wayne. "I used to call us a 'Voltron' of funny since it took all three of us together coming together to invent these preposterous situations much like the five robot lions who came together to form one giant, bad ass robot to defend the galaxy.
He goes on: "One day I was thinking about this and thought we should incorporate it. First thing I thought was The Voltron Letters, but quickly reversed it to Letters to Voltron when I quickly realized how much more badass it was. I also want to say that this is definitely 100 percent in relation to the lion-based Voltron. Not that pussy-ass vehicle Voltron. No one likes the vehicle Voltron."
Amen, Brother Wayne, for the vehicle Voltron was decried far and wide in my youth as "queertarded." Even to this day it's hard to believe someone out in the world thought that robotic lions could somehow be improved upon with cars. Have you seen those memes where lions start pawing at cars? It's because a lion fears your car the way you fear a stuffed rabbit.
A problem still remains for me... I want my damned letter. Yes, I'm a man in his thirties who should probably being snubbed by a fictional robot go, but someone with that level of mental and emotional maturity does not do this sort of thing for a living. So I decided to ask Wayne because he's, you know, real. I wanted to know what his words and music had that a blazing sword didn't.
"What is this, a loaded question?" he replies. "It's a blazing sword, so you pretty much can't say anything with music, words, or otherwise that's better then that. I mean, come on? What am I, some self-important asshole or something?"
No sir, you are a hero. Shine on, you crazy diamond.
FINAL DEFINITION Letters to Voltron (n) 1. Correspondence wrongly delivered to Tranzor Z. 2) A collection of bad jokes. 3) Good, strange, loud music.
Letters to Voltron plays Saturday, July 27 at Fitzgerald's with Vessel, The Minx Delilah, Karma Points. Satellite Brigade, and Sleeper Street.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.